Readers’ Poll Winners: Retail
We spotlight an independent bookstore that's full of mysteries.
Indie Bookstore: Mystery Lovers Bookshop
When you visit Mystery Lovers Bookshop, you can expect an unparalleled collection of … well, mysteries. Since co-owners Tara Goldberg-DeLeo and Kristy Bodnar took over operations in September 2018, becoming the fourth owners of the beloved Oakmont shop, they have worked to expand the bookstore’s offerings. “Our permanent collection is older mysteries,” Goldberg-DeLeo explains, “but we do also keep a lot of new releases and book-club types” in stock as well.
After all, she says, “You never know what’s going to happen — so every book is a mystery.”
Change is nothing new for the 31-year-old store. Since 1990, the bookselling industry has undergone innumerable shifts, from the encroachment of national chains to the rise of e-commerce. Goldberg-DeLeo and Bodnar have also added more events, including author discussions, and expanded the store’s children’s section. Since the ownership change, they estimate their inventory has doubled.
The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated further pivots; even as the physical store has re-opened, Mystery Lovers Bookshop is still offering pick-up services and online ordering through its website (which has access to more than 10 million titles). “We will also still put your book in your trunk, if you like,” Goldberg-DeLeo says. “We are full service.”
In addition to the region’s book-loving nature — “Pittsburgh is a treasure trove of independent bookstores,” Goldberg-DeLeo says — the co-owners attribute the shop’s ongoing popularity to the loyalty of its customers and community. While they report a spike in engagement from their most dedicated fans over the past year, it didn’t take a pandemic for Oakmont to embrace the shop. Goldberg-DeLeo says their neighbors know the value of places like Mystery Lovers Bookshop to a community.
“People realized that, if they want to keep bookstores and these special places around, that they have to support them.”
514 Allegheny River Blvd., Oakmont, 412/828-4877, mysterylovers.com
Why Are You the Best of the ’Burgh?
“We have the best customers. 2021 is a strange year. There’s a global shortage of product; normally, we have several hundred bikes in stock, and right now, we have maybe 20. Most of our time is spent explaining the shortage and the situation. Yesterday, I was waiting on a gentleman whose bike was destroyed — someone ran into his vehicle at a red light, the bike was attached to the trunk. To get a bike for him in the range he wants, it’s going to be a couple of months; instead of going somewhere else, he said, ‘I’ll just wait. You give me the call when something comes in.’ We have customers who we’ve helped for years; they’re very comfortable dealing with us. This is where they want to be. Our heart is, we’re very passionate about getting people into riding.”
— Barry Jeffries, Owner
30 Allegheny River Blvd., Verona, 412/828-2667, dirtyharrys.net
Record Store: Jerry’s Records
Insider tip: After a year’s hiatus due to COVID, Jerry’s Records will again celebrate Record Store Day by offering a sale of $1 records in all genres from its massive inventory. Record Store Day is set to take place in two parts; the second half is coming up on July 17.
— Lauren Davidson
Children,s Clothing Boutique
Precious + Posh
Comic Book Store
Phantom of the Attic
Farmer’s Daughter Flowers
Men’s Clothing Boutique
New or Used Auto Dealer
Castle Toys and Games
Women’s Clothing Boutique